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Daniel Tossanus (1541-1602) on the Gracious Call of the Gospel (an informal reference)

April 15, 2009

Tossanus:

A consideration upon the said text.

Blessed are those says David, in the 119 Psalm that are upright in their way, and walk in the law of the Lord. But what? Where is the man that walks uprightly? For they are all gone out of the way, taking damnable paths: as it is said in the 14th Psalm: and in such sort through infidelity and disobedience are men turned away from the Lord, and walk after vanity: they are turned again into their course, says Jeremy in the 8th chapter, as the horse that rushes into battle.

Now see the Son of God, who so graciously does call you again, and bid you to come again unto him. For so is there none other mean to find salvation & life: or whither shall we go elsewhere? He has the words of everlasting life, as S. Peter says in the 6th chap., of S. John. But it is not with the feet of the body that we go to him: it is the soul that ought to march forwards, and to draw near to him by faith, who does approach so near unto him, that it joins and binds us with him: yea, it does graft us in him even as the branches are grafted in a vine stock, that in him we might have good consciences, & bring forth fruits agreeable or pleasing unto God [John 15: 2,15.].. So we might then well say:

O Lord, thou which does call us, draw us if it please thee, unto thee: draw & turn our spirits & wills unto thee. Be thou thyself that Adamant, which draws our hearts, more harder than iron [Rom. 9:16]. For alas, it is not in him that wills, nor in him that runs, but in thee O God, that shows mercy. And because thou pities not the proud & high-minded that feel not that charge of their sins, which are the more heavy than a great lump of lead; but shows mercy to the broken, and beholds all those that do groan under the burden of their sorrowful sins: give us grace to humble ourselves, that we may be exalted, and to feel our death, that thou may quicken and make us alive, & that O Lord, we do not despise or refuse thy yoke, seeing that it is an easy yoke, when as by thy Spirit thou will guide us, and by the word govern us, giving us a daughterly spirit, which is the spirit of adoption, seeing also that to serve thee, is to reign; to obey thee, is to rule and so to triumph over the devil & sin. This is not the fearful yoke of the law, that threatens condemnation to all those which did not fulfill it. This is not the damnable yoke, wherewithal the sinners are wrapped in: whereof is spoken in the 1th chap., of Jeremiah’s Lament. The yoke of my transgressions is bound upon upon my hand: they are wrapped and come up upon my neck: But Lord, who would refuse thy yoke, which is so easy, seeing it gives rest unto the soul [Matt. 11:30], seeing it unbinds and rids us out of the devil’s yoke, and from the oppression, as it is said in thy Prophet Isaiah, 9th chap.  Therefore receive again unto thee thy poor creatures, and bring us O Lord, and gather us together, as the poor straying sheep, unto that great shepherd Jesus Christ [1 Pet. 2:25].

Daniell Tossain The Exercise of the faithful soule (Imprinted at London by Henrie Middleton for Henrie Denham, 1583), 44-47. [Some spelling modernized, underlining mine.]

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